The seven deadly sins of customer communications - Business Works
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The seven deadly sins of customer communications

Patrick Jelly, MD Pitney Bowes UK British businesses risk alienating almost 90% of customers through poor communications as consumers are becoming increasingly jaded as a result of excessive contact from businesses, especially via e-mail, according to research conducted by Pitney Bowes.

The report Why Some Customers are Just Not That Into You summarises the research which was conducted across the UK, France, Germany and the USA. It asked more than 5000 consumers about their preferences in communications with brands and identified the seven most intrusive and annoying communication techniques used by companies.

"Effective customer communication management (CCM) is a delicate balance of message, medium and timing," said Patrick Jelly, MD of Pitney Bowes UK. "Consumers appreciate being kept updated on their favourite companies. The trick is to maintain that loyalty rather than lose it."

Failing to provide an opt-out of e-mails and texts (an illegal offence) came out as the most infuriating marketing technique, with 89% of respondents claiming that this is intrusive. This was closely followed by sending customers advertising e-mails every week (88%). Monthly e-mails were considered to be intrusive by 53% of respondents, while just 23% said they’d be annoyed to receive the same message by post.

The next most irritating techniques were:

  • being requested to support a brand’s charity or ethical concerns (86%);
  • being addressed as though you have never been a customer before (86%);
  • being sent offers from third parties (82%);
  • being encouraged to interact with other consumers via an online community (77%); and
  • being invited to attend branded lifestyle events (76%).

British businesses need to tread carefully when checking customer satisfaction levels too. Those companies that call their customers risk annoying 48% of them, whereas a survey form would be acceptable to three quarters (74%).

"Adjusting communication techniques to match customer preferences can have a hugely positive impact on success, " continued Patrick. "Our seven deadly sins highlight common pitfalls that many companies encounter and the important thing to do is be prepared to use different techniques for different customers – the 'one size fits all' policy doesn’t work in communications."

"As our research revealed, small changes can have big impacts, both in terms of customer satisfaction and gaining useful information for the company. E-mail is an increasingly popular medium for British businesses to communicate with customers and it’s vital that they get the balance right. As a rule of thumb, a multi-layered approach of email, post and telecommunications is the best option.

The 7 deadly sins of communication are:

  1. Failing to provide an opt-out of e-mails and texts.
  2. Sending customers advertising emails every week.
  3. Requesting that customers support your brand’s charity or ethical concerns.
  4. Addressing customers as though they have never been a customer before.
  5. Sending offers from third parties.
  6. Encouraging customers to interact with other consumers via an online community.
  7. Inviting customers to attend branded lifestyle events.

For more information about Pitney Bowes Customer Communications Management solutions, visit:

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